However it is art that seems to have an extremely powerful effect on those who experience it. Whether these are people with mental health difficulties themselves, people who know others with mental health difficulties, or people who haven’t yet come into contact with mental health difficulties: they each leave the HOAX experience profoundly influenced.
This was noticed by Manchester-based Psychosis Research Unit (PRU). A partnership was then formed between PRU and Ziggy’s Wish, to investigate whether the HOAX project could extend its reach from the arts sector where it was originally developed, into the health sector in order to act as a mental health tool.
How this arts-health cross-sector partnership works
As part of the HOAX Our Right to Hope 2017 tour, working alongside and within it, PRU will carry out two mental-health studies.
The first will analyse general audience feedback both before and after each tour event, to see whether HOAX Our Right to Hope can help change society's attitudes towards mental health and reduce stigma.
The second will look at small groups of high-risk audiences, in specially supported matinees, to see whether HOAX Our Right to Hope can act as a clinical intervention to reduce self stigma.
This creates a win-win situation. PRU (health sector) benefits because the artwork provides them with an opportunity to evaluate novel intervention strategies that can impact on health outcomes: and Ziggy’s Wish (arts sector) benefits because, by being part of a valid health study, the artwork is given quantifiable value and social purpose.
How the mental-health studies work
Both of the HOAX Our Right to Hope health studies are housed within the HOAX Our Right to Hope narrative app. The app ‘wraps around’ the HOAX My Lonely Heart stage musical and the HOAX Psychosis Blues graphic novel, and expands Rob’s story.
Everyone who buys a ticket to a HOAX Our Right to Hope tour event will be given a unique code. This code allows you to enter the app and explore this expanded storyworld. You will be able to interact with the story, and make choices on Rob’s behalf. You will also be invited to answer the health-study questions that you find along the way.
The HOAX Our Right to Hope narrative app is a world-first health-research study that seeks to decrease both public-stigma and self-stigma around mental health. By being a part of it, you are helping to achieve actual, tangible, and measurable impact around mental health awareness.